U.S. 45 Star Naval Flag from U.S.S. Olympia.

Sub-collection: U.S. Naval

A 45-Star U.S. Naval Flag from USS Olympia.
This wool, 45 star flag was acquired with features attributing it to the USS Olympia; Admiral Dewey's flagship at Manila Bay. According to the acquisition documents this flag was acquired at an estate sale in Pennsylvania by a New York antiques dealer. The flag is inscribed "C.S. Howland" and further inscribed "THIS FLAG FLEW ON COM. DEWEY'S SHIP "Olympia", AUG. 7, 1898".

Accurate identification of the name has proven elusive. There are no records of a crewman or officer by that name serving aboard the Olympia in this 1890s. It may have been the personal property of a merchant Capt. C.S. Howland of New Bedford, MA.

The date has also proven uncertain, as the date for the Battle of Manila was actually 1st May 1898 and where the USS Olympia served as Admiral Dewey's flagship. The Olympia remained in Philippine waters after the Battle of Manila Bay to further reduce the Spanish forts and positions.

The only relevance for the inscribed date in relation to the USS Olympia is that it was on 7 August 1898, with additional warships and a strong U.S. Army contingent in place, that the ultimatum was delivered to the Spanish to surrender Manila, before noon, by 13 August 1898. Following the heavy Navy bombardment of Fort San Antonio de Abad a few miles south of the city, and the fort's capture by U.S. troops, Manila's Spanish government capitulated.

This flag is unlike the yard made flags generally used by the US navy during this era and it is highly likely that this was a commemorative, private purchase flag, hoisted on the Olympia after the famous battle, and subsequently presented to, C.S. Howland. This flag is worthy of further study and the other markings of "Double Warp" and "100% American Wool" and the size 5'x8' may perhaps be clues to more information.

Provenance: Acquired in 1999 by purchase from Lisle, New York. From the Louise Veninga Collection.


Activities Around Manila after the Battle of Manila Bay, The Naval History & Heritage Command, 6 December 2011, from:

USS Olympia, Wikipedia, 6 December 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Olympia_(C-6)

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 92
Length of Fly 60


Width of Union/Canton 35
Length of Union/Canton 31


Comments on Star Measurements Machine sewn, not through the center.
Size of Stars 3


Width of 1st Stripe 5
Width of 3rd Stripe 5
Width of 8th Stripe 5
Width of Last Stripe 5
Size of Hoist 2


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 45
How are the stars embeded? Sewn
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Wool
Comments on Fabric Bunting


Stitching Machine


Type of Weave Plain


Comments on Method of Attachmen 2
Method of Attachment Grommets


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Excellent
Damage Flag is used and contains some wear and tear.
Displayable yes


Date 1895-1898